First Router Table #2: Cabinet

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Blog entry by Jeff posted 06-21-2009 05:08 AM 7717 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Table top Part 2 of First Router Table series no next part

Again, after much research and finding what I thought I would need and use, I decided to make the cabinet from poplar and mdf. The joinery is raised panel construction for the sides and back and straight pocket hole joints on the front. I knew I wanted to leave about an inch overhang of the top, so the dimensions are roughly 22” x 34” and 34”high(including the top). The pocket holes were so easy and very strong. The first picture I show using some leftover weather striping for a cushion of the panel sitting in the rails and stiles.

From Router Table

This is one of the side panels on the bottom and the back panel during glue up. Only the frame is glued together leaving the raised panel(s) to “float”. The back was a little tricky, but it was mainly a matter of having the clamps ready.
From Router Table

I didn’t show just the front put together, but it was done with all pocket screws. Here are the sides back and front assembled using pocket screws.
From Router Table

From Router Table

Next is the cabinet with 1/2” birch ply in the bottom sitting on 1×2 supports screwed to the cabinet. I know it adds more wood to the project, but I wasn’t quite ready to screw this up by trying to cut dados in the cabinet. I used 3/4” mdf in the middle and inside box that encloses the router attached to more poplar supports which are attached using pocket screws.
From Router Table

Here is the switch I bought for $28 at the local Rockler dealer. I thought I heard about cheaper switches but couldn’t find one. I’m okay with this, the wiring is solid and the switch is heavy duty. I unwired it in order to put the wires through as small a hole as possible. You can just see where the outlet wire goes into the side and it also shows up on the previous picture secured to the inside of the cabinet.
From Router Table

Here is a shot from the back to show the panels.
From Router Table

Here is the router compartment, I need to secure the cable a little better on the other side, maybe with a velcro strap or something easily undone.
From Router Table

From Router Table

From Router Table

I actually used the router attached to the table top but temporarily set on another table with the top cut out in order to cut the rails, stiles and raised panels. I also used a temporary fence, which worked okay, but I’m excited to make a much better and solid one.

-- - In the end, everything will be okay. If it isn't okay, it isn't the end yet.

4 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4084 days

#1 posted 06-21-2009 05:13 AM

good start

View hokieman's profile


196 posts in 4261 days

#2 posted 06-22-2009 03:22 AM

Lookin’ good. What I did on my router table is made it with two compartments. I have a 1/4 inch of plywood separating where the router resides and below it I have a 1 gallon shop vac. The hose comes through the cabinet wall and connects to a wooden fence with a dust collection attachment. I also lined the inside of the cabinet with old carpet which muffles the sound a lot. I had some old plastic laminate around from a counter top I made for the kitchen and I used that for the router table top. It is a knock off from a FWW design they had in a publication about a year and a half ago. Works pretty well.

View Bigdogs117's profile


1864 posts in 4128 days

#3 posted 06-22-2009 04:27 AM

Be sure in add vent holes for your router. It may shorten the life of the router if you don’t. Nice looking so far.

-- Rusty

View Jeff's profile


95 posts in 3805 days

#4 posted 06-22-2009 07:07 PM

I was planning on putting some lexan in the front with a couple of 1” holes in it for ventilation. I’ve been back and forth on where to connect the vacuum system. On the temporary fence I used, I made a hose connection for my shop vac and it captured about 95% of the dust. There has been some discussion about how the air moves through the router, and my conclusion is that the air moves from the top of the router through and out the bottom(bottom being the bit end). This means on a table mounted router that the air actually moves from the housing space up and out the top of the table, so the dust collection needs to be at the top of the table. If the vacuum is placed in the housing area and sucking air through the top of the table and trying to force air the wrong way through the router, that can also cause problems like overheating and a lot of debris in the router. My router is pretty quiet anyway and the bit making the cut is what makes most of the noise compared to the motor running, but noise was certainly a factor in deciding to make a cabinet as opposed to an open style table.

-- - In the end, everything will be okay. If it isn't okay, it isn't the end yet.

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